Starving the Children of Yemen Has Served No Purpose

In case you missed it, there are babies in Yemen who are almost unrecognizable as babies.


Some have warned that Yemen is slipping closer and closer to an “atrocity famine.” An atrocity famine is a famine that is the result of an avoidable factors, unlike famine due to, say, drought.

Foreign Policy describes:

“Through sieges, blockades, and attacks on civilian infrastructure, belligerents destroy livelihoods, trade, and economic activity, and they disrupt humanitarian assistance. Atrocity famines are political projects, in which parties to the conflict consider some groups dispensable and not worth saving.”

This provides a grim look at the reality on the ground, as it emphasizes that a large part of what is happening to civilians is entirely preventable and that it is the conscious choice of political actors that allows it to happen.

Within the context of Yemen, speculation appears to be proving itself accurate. Doctors in Yemen are telling CNN that famine has arrived, and it appears that what’s really harming civilians is blockades of ports. Blockades mean things like fuel can’t get into the country, which then means that trucks with things like food can’t get to people who need it.

This is in large part preventable.

The current blockade of Hodeida is thanks to the US-Saudi coalition, but all sides are involved in this war, and all are to blame for the current state of civilian conditions. Here are some examples of that:

“Between 2010 and 2019, 67 percent targeted the agricultural or fishing sectors, which includes farms, markets, flour mills, food-processing companies, fishing boats, poultry farms, and livestock. The vast majority of these attacks began after 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition used airstrikes to destroy civilian targets, including hospitals, agricultural infrastructure, roads, bridges, and water systems. From 2010 to 2014, reported attacks on infrastructure were rare, conducted primarily by nonstate actors affiliated with local tribes, and focused on sabotaging oil and gas pipelines and electricity installations, often in pursuit of particular concessions from central and provincial authorities. As the war intensified with the Saudi-led bombing campaign, Houthi forces, pro-Hadi forces aligned with the internationally recognized government, and political militias throughout Yemen targeted civilian infrastructures, causing additional harm to civilian health and livelihoods.”[1]

Please make dua for the innocent people of Yemen. Please talk about what’s happening to them.

The US, after supporting this war since the Obama administration, has announced that it will “stop supporting offensive operations, including the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

This is potentially good news, as regardless of one’s view of the war, it is hard to make the argument that it has helped Yemen.

Brookings makes the point that while the Trump administration was eager to see Iranian defeat in the war (in the form of a defeat of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels), “Iran is the big winner in the war.” They say that now the Houthi’s and Iran have more power in Sana’a than they did six years ago. Clearly, things haven’t panned out as planned.

Even despite that, the war goes on, but Saudi Arabia and its allies have little to show for it except harm to civilians and ultimately, a more broken Ummah.

  1. Sowers, Jeannie & Weinthal, Erika. “The Biden Administration Should Prevent an ‘Atrocity Famine’ in Yemen.” Foreign Policy. February 10, 2021.
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